Faculty Senate agrees district needs to contribute to adjuncts' retirement
A location in the mall is recommended for the displaced college seal.
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 10:10
The district needs to contribute 6.4 percent of compensation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to keep adjuncts, Jerry Townsend, Adjunct Faculty Council chair, said at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.
A TRS rule change states adjunct faculty members teaching more than 7.4 semester hours will be required to contribute 6.4 percent of their compensation to the Teacher Retirement System and Alamo Colleges will be required to contribute 6.4 percent.
Because most college classes are a minimum of three semester hours, this rule would would apply to adjuncts who teach more than two classes. For some classes with labs, this rule would apply to adjuncts teaching more than one course.
President Robert Zeigler sent an email to all faculty on Sept. 27, proposing three options for this college: hire more adjuncts, allow adjuncts to teach more than 7.4 hours with justification from the department chair or cancel classes.
Townsend, a full-time adjunct in the media communications department, said he wants the district to pay its contribution and keep adjuncts teaching more than 7.4 hours, since the district was able to come up with money for raises for full-time faculty in 2012-13.
Staff and administration received a 2 percent raise, Chancellor Bruce Leslie received a 7 percent raise and faculty raises range from 1.65 percent to 14.55 percent.
Math Professor Gerald Busald said, “It’s amazing how we can find money for certain things.”
Townsend said he estimated that $300,000 will be the total contribution the district would have to make if administrators decide to keep adjuncts teaching 7.5 hours or more.
Psychology Chair Thomas Billimek said, “Even if it’s an estimate, what is going to be the cost if we do have to pay that amount, which I am for, versus what happens if we don’t?”
Townsend said he wants to talk to Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs, to see how many adjunct faculty members would be hired to teach the classes currently taught by adjuncts with a load of more than 7.4 semester hours.
Townsend said then he could get a better estimate on how much the college would have to pay.
He said he estimated about 100 faculty members affected by the new change.
Busald said adjunct professors will not be willing to go through the trouble of commuting here if they are only going to work for six semester hours.
“We’re going to lose adjuncts because of this policy,” Busald said.
Townsend said some adjuncts would opt out of teaching 7.5 or more hours because they would not want to contribute, but if adjuncts cooperate, then they would be “connected” to the college.
He said some departments, like math, will not have trouble replacing adjuncts since there are a lot of math professors.
He said it would be unethical if the college has to pick and choose which adjuncts will be able to teach 7.5 hours.
“From an ethical point of view, that is just absolutely wrong, and from a legal point of view, I don’t think you can defend it either,” Townsend said.
He said he wants to show Zeigler and the Alamo Colleges board of trustees that he has support to keep adjuncts teaching 7.5 hours.
“I don’t think there would be any question, that that’s the right thing to do,” Townsend said. “These are people that are depending upon this district, this college for income to live on.”
Larry Rosinbaum, Faculty Senate chair and business professor, said future problems will be departments fighting over the same adjuncts.
Political science Professor Suzanne Martinez said department chairs should have gotten the word out to faculty members as well because some adjuncts did not know.
Bilimek said if he does not have enough professors, then he is going to start canceling classes.
“That’s too bad,” Billimek said. “I’ll cancel it because I won’t have anyone else to teach it.”
He said they have to presume there will be “adequate resources” when planning for the spring semester.
Martinez said another thing to take into consideration is the long time it takes to hire adjunct faculty members.
Rosinbaum said he would talk with Leslie when the Super Senate meets with him.
He said Leslie canceled their meeting this month and is trying to reschedule.
Townsend said he contacted Richard Moore, director of Texas Community College Teachers Association, which also was blindsided by the issue.
Moore said he would contact Townsend when he got more information.
Townsend will write a resolution to Leslie about the support he has from the college.
The resolution will include the Senators support for adjunct teaching 7.5 hours.
He will send the resolution to Rosinbaum so he can look at it, then Senators will decide if they want Rosinbaum to give it to Leslie.
Librarian Celita DeArmond said she would get signatures from Senators for the resolution.
In other news, kinesiology Chair Bill Richardson said a design is being made for the placement of one of two college seals.
Richardson said the seal will be on the west side of Moody Learning Center.
He said it will be on a brick monument with a slanted top.
He also said the monument will have a clarification on what the symbols mean on the seal.
During the 2010 winter break, Alamo Colleges logos were placed on top of the college seals on the college monument west of Gonzales and McCreless halls on San Pedro Avenue without notice to the college.
The two seals were removed in April.